Ibrahimovic: "Ronaldo is the best footballer in history"
Zlatan criticised LeBron James: "What he does is phenomenal, but I don’t like it when people with a certain status talk about politics. Do what you are good at".
Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave an in-depth interview to UEFA in which he spoke openly about AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli, how he gets along with his team mates and playing top level football aged 39...
Age: "When you play at these levels, such high levels, there is always the same pressure, regardless of who you are. If you are here, you are here because you deserve to be, you are here because you are good enough. I don’t care if you are young or not, I cannot be thinking about the fact that you are young and that your time will come. When you play for Milan, there is no time, you have to do well now. If I don’t play well, Milan will buy another striker in the next transfer market who will play better than me, that’s why I have to play well, and this applies to everyone. We all have to be up to the level, whatever our age".
The coach: "Pioli is very different to me? Are you sure about that? Maybe I Zlatanised him... Maybe he became like me. When he first arrived in Milan, the environment was difficult. If we are where we are now it is thanks to him and the work he has done - he's a great coach. I already knew Pioli because I played against his teams in Italy. When he took over this team, it wasn’t where we are now. We are where we are now thanks to him and the work he has done, to his mentality. He puts a lot of pressure on the team, he demands a lot, even if it is quite a young team. Maybe he has more patience than me, but obviously he is much more mature and more experienced than I am. He is used to working under pressure and has been in situations where he has had to fight to stay in Serie A. Obviously that is very different because you have to fight to win, but at the same time, under a lot of pressure. In those situations you have to give something different to what you give with the big teams.Pioli came here and demonstrated with his work that he is a great coach. Now there's no discussion as to whether he is the most suitable for the job".
Young players: "These days, the new generation of players play five minutes and they are seen as great players. I'm glad that I come from the old school. Social media has changed everything; today, thanks to social media, players are seen as champions despite having done very little. It wasn’t like that before. Before, you had to achieve big things, and sustain it for a long time, to be seen as a great player. Today is different. I like the old school more. To be recognised as a great player, you had to show it".
Ronaldo Nazário: "I always tell those who play with me, 'Ronaldo is football'. For me, that Ronaldo is football. For the way he moves, the way he passes the ball. For me, he's the best player in history, without a doubt".
LeBron James: "What he does is phenomenal, but I don’t like it when people with some kind of ‘status’ talk about politics. Do what you’re good at. Do what you do. I play football because I’m the best at playing football. I don’t do politics. If I had been a politician, I would have dedicated myself to politics. That's the first mistake famous people make when they feel like they’ve arrived. For me it is better to stay away from these topics, and do what you are good at, otherwise you run the risk of leaving a bad impression".